At my outings I was always regaled by tales of Goan food from the local servers at restaurants and cafes, which is an indication in itself how proud the Goans are and how zealously they carry on their culinary legacy. Although Vasco Da Gama was the first Portuguese to land on Indian soil (he landed in Calicut) in 1498, it was only in 1510 that a Portuguese Admiral named Afonso De Albuqerque attacked Goa and the Portuguese took over Goa from it's former ruler Ismail Adil Shah. It was Admiral Afonso De Albuquerque who initiated the practice of Portuguese men marrying local women which gave rise to the present day Goan cuisine a perfect amalgamation of the ancient Indian cuisine with the classic Portuguese cuisine.
The Portuguese brought with them chillies, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples etc. which was slowly integrated into the local Goan cuisine. In the 400 years that the Portuguese ruled over Goa they left a strong culinary imprint in the Goan cuisine, literally rustling up many a new dish which were a marriage of local and Portuguese flavours. The Goans were introduced to the art of bread making and the Goan Pao (which is a portuguese word for bread) a true masterpiece, has been a part of its food heirloom ever since. Vinegar unknown earlier became a must have kitchen essential and yeast was replaced by a local Palm Toddy as a requisite for fermentation. Even table etiquettes changed and cutlery became an important part of the dinning table.
Preparing Chicken Xacuti is a labour of love, where you first assemble the entire list of spices, then grind them to a very smooth paste to get the Xacuti Masala ready. The chicken is marinated in phases so that it absorbs all the flavours and aromas totally. I was told that the secret to a brilliant and overtly tasty Chicken Xacuti is to finish off the curry with a lavish sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves and coconut slivers. Now there are many different recipes for Chicken Xacuti , but if you go through them, you will see that coconut, chillies, turmeric, coriander etc. are common to all. The recipe I am sharing here is my favourite from all the Chicken Xacuti that I have had till date. It's a recipe of Chef Alphonso Periera and I love layers of flavour that the Chicken acquires from marination in phases and also from the stupendously fragrant Xacuti Masala. This is a dish which uses a whole lot of spices, but is mild on the tongue and a true powerhouse of flavour. Once you eat Chicken Xacuti you will be tempted to savour this dish again and again. By following my recipe which I have very clearly and in steps explained, you can rustle up the same Chicken Xacuti in terms of taste as that of any which you will eat in a local restaurant in Goa. So let's take a look at the ingredients.
Chicken Xacuti Recipe / Goan Style Chicken Curry With Coconut And Exotic Spices ~
1Kg Chicken, skinless on the bone, curry cut
1/4 Cup Water
Salt to taste
MARINADE 1 ~
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
MARINADE 2 ~
2 Inch Ginger piece
For Wet Masala ~
1 Tbsp Oil
For Garnishing ~
Fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped
Let's Cook Chicken Xacuti In Easy Steps ~
** Nicely massage each piece. Cover and leave to marinate for 5 minutes.
** Grind into a smooth paste.
** Add the marinade to the chicken pieces.
** Give all the chicken pieces a nice rub with the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate at least for 30 minutes if not more.
Wet Masala ~
** The Secret to a great tasting Chicken Xacuti, is "to add freshly ground coconut and coriander just before serving" ~ As revealed by a lady who won the trophy in a Chicken Xacuti making cook off in Goa for the best dish.